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I am considering buying my first keelboat this fall. I have been sailing my dinghy, and am taking an intermediate class in dinghy sailing, but I though it might be the right time to get a 27 footer that I can sail around Long Island Sound with over the next couple of seasons. I am really think of it as a daysailer, for practicing sailing skills, with some local overnights.

My plan is to get experience over the next couple of years as I work toward cruising in 3 or 4 years. So, as a first boat, it seems that cats and hunters are easy entry choices - low price point in mid 70s versions, many to choose from, and good (popular) market to sell into when done.

I do understand the build quality is low, but I am thinking of it more as a learner that I do not sink a lot into. My preference is a catalina, but there might be a good deal nearby on a hunter. Any thoughts on what to look out for, or how they compare? I have found lots of info on the catalina 27 - and there are so many of them around - but less so on the hunter. I did read some owner comments about the hunter having problems with the keel in the 70s, though.

I also looked at a pearson 26, and I gather it is better built, but I'm still leaning toward the cat/hunter options.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.
 

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I would say the Catalina or the Pearson. Pearson's are great boats and so are Catalina's. In addition finding parts and accessories for Catalina's is relatively easy and painless, through Catalina direct. If that Pearson is in great shape I would get that, however Catalina's are reliable as well.

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Again, it really depends on the condition of the specific boats. Personally, I'd go with a Catalina or a Pearson before a Hunter... due to some of the design and construction issues that older Hunters had. Overall, I think that the Catalina probably wins, since Catalina is still in business... and has a very active owner's association for most of their boats.

Yes, Pearson and Hunter are both still in business... but the Pearson Yatchs of today only builds powerboats... and the Hunter is the lowest on my list of preferences of the three... ;)
 

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I think this is largely a matter of personal preference, bias and more important the condition of the actual boat(s) you are looking at. A LONG time ago, Hunter had a bad reputation and that carries on today in some folks minds despite better management and construction practices. For all the neg comments about hunters, the C27s for many years were built with a wooden mast step which inevitably rots causing some pretty extraordinary repair costs which isn't to say all C27s wrere built poorly; just pay attention to what you are considering. All generalities are dangerous.
Compare the boats you are looking at not for the name plate but for their features and most importantly for their relative condition.
 
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